To the Lighthouse
How we cite our quotes:
And it was then too, in that chill and windy way, as she began to paint, that there forced themselves upon her other things, her own inadequacy, her insignificance, keeping house for her father off the Brompton Road, and had much ado to control her impulse to fling herself (thank Heaven she had always resisted so far) at Mrs. Ramsay’s knee and say to her—but what could one say to her? "I’m in love with you?" No, that was not true. "I’m in love with this all," waving her hand at the hedge, at the house, at the children. It was absurd, it was impossible. (1.4.5)
Lily is astonished at falling in love with Mrs. Ramsay’s way of life.
But was it nothing but looks, people said? What was there behind it—her beauty and splendour? Had he blown his brains out, they asked, had he died the week before they were married—some other, earlier lover, of whom rumours reached one? Or was there nothing? nothing but an incomparable beauty which she lived behind, and could do nothing to disturb? For easily though she might have said at some moment of intimacy when stories of great passion, of love foiled, of ambition thwarted came her way how she too had known or felt or been through it herself, she never spoke. She was silent always. (1.5.9)
There is unconfirmed speculation that Mr. Ramsay is not the love of Mrs. Ramsay’s life.
A shadow was on the page; she looked up. It was Augustus Carmichael shuffling past, precisely now, at the very moment when it was painful to be reminded of the inadequacy of human relationships, that the most perfect was flawed, and could not bear the examination which, loving her husband, with her instinct for truth, she turned upon it; when it was painful to feel herself convicted of unworthiness, and impeded in her proper function by these lies, these exaggerations,—it was at this moment when she was fretted thus ignobly in the wake of her exaltation, that Mr. Carmichael shuffled past, in his yellow slippers, and some demon in her made it necessary for her to call out, as he passed,
"Going indoors Mr. Carmichael?" (1.7.8 – 1.7.9)
Mrs. Ramsay is frustrated that even the most perfect of relationships (her marriage) has flaws, and she vents this by singling out Mr. Carmichael as he walks past.